Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Audiobook Wednesdays: The Maze Runner by James Dasner

So, my job changed and I spend about an hour in the car each day. It's not a tough drive (mostly back roads) and I don't mind the drive, but as I spend more time in the car, I figured I should listen to something I love.... which are books!

I never got into audiobooks. I thought it would be hard to follow with my hearing loss, not seeing the words on the page. However, I really liked listening to the audiobook last year with To Kill a Mockingbird with Sissy Spacek with my 9th grade students.  I decided to give it a try with the free trial on Audible.

And I just have to say, audiobooks are really expensive. I had no idea how expensive they were! I just wanted to buy one on itunes (which, yes, I know isn't the best gauge in pricing)  but as I researched other audiobooks sites, they were all pricey! Wow!

I think out of all of them, audible has more bang for your buck (you can choose different memberships with different fees and different credits) and they give you discounts on other audiobooks. After my free trial is over, I'm going to strategize which books to spend my credits on, and which books I will buy. Usually the "older" books are cheaper, and the "newer" books are more expensive, but 1 credit will buy pretty much whatever audiobook it is, no matter the cost. As you all know, I'm always trying to save a buck!

For my first book, which I also want to do a "which is better" review, is The Maze Runner. I was never interested in it before, but since it was free with my trial, I figured, why not? I listened to the book and finished it within the week. I listened to it for 25 minutes to work and back, along with listening to it while I worked out.

Alright, first impressions... Lord of the Flies with a science fiction feel. All boys in the jungle with no way out (and trying to find one) as told through first person point of view.

Yawn. So over the sausage fest. Even though there are more strong female protagonists, I would love to read a book where there are a bunch of women working together. It seems like there are no room for more than 1 female in books such as these, and sometimes even those female protagonists are very hard to identify with. There is lots of diversity in the novel (boys, at least), so I was glad to read boys of color and different backgrounds have their own opinions and places in the book.

The story opens with a boy enclosed in a box. He has no idea who he is or where he is, and suddenly, the box opens to reveal boys looking down at him. He arrives to a sort of forrest and he realizes there are huge walls surrounding their paradise, with a maze on the outside of it. He's confused and scared and his memories have been wiped.

Dasner does a good job of building up the mystery to where the listener wants to know where all of this is going. It's maddening when the boys don't tell him much of what the place is about, and as the reader (listener?) is just as frustrated as he is as he tries to figure out what his place in all of this is.

The boys are trapped inside of a maze and the boys have been trying for 2 years to solve it in order for an exit to open. The Glade is a functioning society and the leaders, Newt and Alby, state that everyone needs to stay busy in order not to lose hope. There are many personalities and characters in the book, and the first person that befriends Thomas (the boy in the box), is Chuck, who was the new boy before him.

After Thomas' arrival, crazy things start happening. Another new person arrives, and it's a girl this time. She's unconscious and she has a note in her hand. She tells them all that it's going to change and that she's the last person to arrive. Everyone is alarmed and suspicion befalls Thomas, who seems to be the catalyst of all the strange occurrences.

There are antagonists in the book, but Dasner purposely misleads you. At first the reader thinks it's Gally, who hates Thomas immediately, and has the stereotypical villain sneer. However, it soon reveals that it's not Gally, but something more sinister and much more inhumane.

I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook. It's straightforward and simple, which I think was appropriate for my first ever dip into the world of audiobooks. I'm interested in watching The Maze Runner and doing the comparison.

There is a second novel and movie and I'm not sure if I'll get to it right away. I'm not sure if I liked it that much to spend an audiobook credit on it, or to spend money on the book. If someone has the novel that they want to loan me.... HINT HINT. I'll be happy to read it.

So, if you want to start an audiobook, but do not want something so complicated, this is a good place to start.

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